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In need of advice.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by marcsloane, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. marcsloane

    marcsloane Newcomer

    Hi All, the name is Marc, and I am struggling to a degree which is hard to explain. Here is the briefest I can write up about my history, still long. I apologize in advance.

    Ever since I can remember, I have had chronic digestive issues. I got the term IBS thrown at me probably around 10 or 11 - and am now 36. "IBS" has caused me a great deal of anxiety and grief and the symptoms worsened while in High School given my "limited" bathroom passes and the stress and anxiety this caused me was horrible. I was angry and acted out a lot.

    However, when I went to college, everything stopped. I was "normal." I was "free" and no longer angry. Unfortunately that was the last normal period of my life, where both my mind and physical body were not in disarray of some kind. I yearn for those days again and at 36 with a wife, kid, and incredibly stressful job, I no longer feel the calmness and pain-free experience I had in my carefree college days is a possibility.

    My experience with mind-body disorders started again after acquiring a UTI at 24 around the time of my first marriage. The UTI led me to Chronic Pelvic Pain, anxiety, and therefore, my IBS returned. It was like having a bucket of ice cold water dumped on my head. I have not been the same since.

    I did the doctor shopping/physical therapist routine for a about 2 years until I accepted that what I had was being driven by my mind, and the rage simmering below the surface. This led me to the book Healing Back Pain, which I read, and which, upon reading, caused a large scale reduction in my Pelvic Pain. I am that Type-A, hardcore, sensitive, conscientious person that book described so well and I cant stop being that person, it is who I am and I hate it.

    The next 8 years, which brings me to today, were mostly quiet and in control, until the end. With pain and without but nothing that I couldn't handle with stress reduction and anxiety medications or meditation and acceptance of what was happening mentally. I was in an OK spot. However, near the end of that 8 years, I had the worst flare up of Chronic Pelvic Pain that I have ever had, this is was in August 2018... It ended up with me going to the urgent care and getting non-opiate pain injections and having to beg and plead for a valium to stop the spasm and pain. The Valium stopped the flare in its tracks and I decided to never be in that situation again, so I ordered a large scale amount on the internet so I would never have to beg and plead with any doctor again. It was disgusting how I was treated.

    Over the year, I took the valium on and off no more than a few times a week and it helped tremendously with my stress, through a wedding plan, and wedding, and helped with my overall outlook on life, until it didn't. I realized that even though I was taking a very small amount, I developed a dependence, and then I decided to withdraw from the medication. I did so cold turkey, and it was the worst, most traumatic, horrifying experience of my life... this is was just over a year ago and basically 2 months into my second marriage.

    Every bit of the man I thought I was, was tested over and over as the withdrawal dragged on for around 3 months. The man I was, was gone. The experience changed me. What followed this was a resurgence of extreme pelvic pain, pure insomnia and total sleep deprivation sometimes for days, forcing me to manage my anxiety at an all time high to stop the pain, then followed a re-triggering of the severe IBS to the point of needing a colonoscopy to diagnose, then followed the swollen hemorrhoids, bleeding and protruding that needed treatment via injections, swelling and infection followed which required antibiotics, which left me with C-diff, which failed all antibiotics and needed another colonoscopy to deliver a stool transplant, which worked but left my IBS at an all time high. A newborn in the house returned my insomnia and anxiety... and the cycle keeps on going.

    I have PTSD from this year and now am currently suffering from some form of Gastritis, which I am getting scoped for on 1/27. The gastritis began with a hardcore worrying session around Cdiff relapse that never happened, then went away, then returned for the same reason and has not left since. I cant even take a shit without worrying about the cdiff returning, I cant even eat without worrying if it will even digest (i appreciate the dichotomy), and worst of all I cant even enjoy my son, born in the midst of this chaos, or my wife, patiently putting up with my descent into hell.

    At the end of the day, my obsession, anxiety, and fear create symptoms, even on good days, making me overthink and check, and create problems all in defense of my ego that cannot withstand whatever is lurking deep below, the rage, self hatred, hidden and checked goes firing off in the wrong directions.

    Fact is, I don't really know exactly what I am so mad about. I have theories, but when you strip all of this medical shit away my life is good! Patient wife. Awesome kid. Awesome dog. Beautiful home. Supportive families. Steady work and a great but stressful job that affords me nice things but takes its pound of flesh, yet I am in the middle of this angry, anxious, and depressed from the pain and issues. All I think about is leaving it all behind so I can go retire in the woods somewhere were I wont feel attachment and I wont have stress that triggers these horrific events and patterns to unfold.

    And it is all my fault. And it kills me to accept it.

    I know that once my scope shows abnormalities and I hopefully fix them, something else will creep up, or I will create worry to distract from the stresses and rage, and I just cannot stop this behavior. I cannot escape the symptom imperative.

    I don't do drugs. I don't take pills. I don't smoke. I don't drink. I don't know what else to do. I overall live an extremely healthy life. Working with a therapist has been a total joke and he doesn't really offer me much in the way of advice or actual treatment other than just letting me bitch. Any advice on this is appreciated, I am at my wits end and I don't know how much more I can stand before I lose my mind.
    Avnita Suri, nowa and Tennis Tom like this.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi marcsloane,

    Welcome to the Wiki and Forum,

    I am sorry about your long-time suffering. Many who come here are not so stricken, others, if you can believe it, more so. Most get better in time, with sincere engagement of this work.

    You description of your mind/emotions/worry/symptoms combination remind me of some folks I've worked with directly as a coach. In short I recommend finding ways to reassure yourself and feel more safe. This can be simple, believable phrases like "I feel worried right now, but this moment is safe." Others use affirmations like "I am safe." While these sound simple, and almost improbable in their effectiveness they do work. They're used many times a day, whenever the feelings of overwhelm arise. This becomes a new habit, taking the place of the familiar cycle down you describe for instance here:
    This is a strand of unsafe thoughts which can be interrupted. The thoughts seem believable, but at their core, repetitive anxiety thoughts are a form of TMS, because they are a distraction.

    I think the sense of not being safe is particularly acute with digestive tract symptoms, so I do believe working on safety will help you.

    A better therapist can help. Especially one familiar with TMS, although they need not be.

    None of this is your fault. It is how your life has unfolded.
    What is important here is to see this as self-rejection. It is believable for us, this self-hate, with all its convincing content justifying the self-hate, but it calls for skillful inner work. I do think you need good support for this. Again, none of what life takes us to, at this level of suffering is really our fault. It is our crazy human existence mixed with our history, our choices which we make to seek happiness, and the results are what they are for each of us.

    Here is a meditation I like from Neff regarding self-compassion, which I highly believe will be helpful to nourish for yourself by your chosen means.

    Increase or development of TMS is common with stopping drug or alcohol addiction in my experience. Something is "missing," and it kicks up unconscious material, which activates symptoms.

    Read Alicia Batson's experience and what helped her, and you might find both of these entries helpful. She suffered many symptoms for many years.

    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/a-physicians-tms-story-rsi-hyperacusis-and-much-more.7658/ (A Physician's TMS story - RSI, Hyperacusis and much more.....)
    https://aliciabatsonmd.com/17-steps-to-healing-chronic-pain/ (17 Steps to Healing Chronic Pain -)
    We have Alan Gordon's free program linked at the top of page, and the Structured Education Program, both free at the Wiki, if you want to engage a program of self study. The fact that Dr. Sarno's work helped you, means it can again, albeit at a deeper level --requiring deeper work from you this time. You also know that when you were the most free and not under pressure, you had no symptoms. This again is hopeful because even though you may not be able to recreate this with your current family life, this past good time probably holds some clues for your healing.

    Best to You,

    nowa and TG957 like this.
  3. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Marcsloan, Andy gave you many excellent recommendations on what to do. I will add only one to his list: read the section Success Stories first. It will give you hope and energy to move forward. So many were able to get out of a dark place they were in, there must be a spot there for you among them.
    You have a good start: judging by your post, you are very capable of introspection. Read, absorb, learn. Find your own path to hope. The doctor lies within you.
  4. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    I hope you won't mind if I throw something other than TMS in as a possible cause of your anger and anxiety, and possibly some of your other symptoms, which is the valium, withdrawal symptoms can go on for a very long time. I was on Ativan for about 30 years,and the withdrawal symptoms went on for many years, and I still have tinnitus after being off the stuff for nearly 30 years, although it is much diminished. and I now think of it as TMS, but your frame of mind sounds so like the state that I was in for ages after i came off Ativan, that I think that the best thing you can do, is to stop blaming yourself, accept it, and expect it to go away in a few months... IN other words, treat it as TMS, but try not to get upset if it sticks around for a bit...

    Benzodiazepines can certainly wreck one's ability to deal with stress for a long time after coming off.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  5. marcsloane

    marcsloane Newcomer

    First off, Andy, thank you for your post it is insightful and I appreciate the time you took to post it. I will read and re-read as well as check out the meditations and other resources. On meditation, I am a big fan of the Michael Mahoney one geared towards IBS - that has set my IBS and anxiety symptoms into remission many times and truly does work as it gets at the heart of the cause of IBS.

    Nowa - Benzo withdrawal was just total and complete insanity, but I do feel at this time, it is finally over though it did leave me with many scars, which have precipitated this latest TMS attack. Withdrawal ended for me at about 6 months, though I began to see the light at 2-3 months. During withdrawal I was tested like no other time and the only way I could manage the anxiety/panic/fear was to truly think positively with affirmations and know that it was temporary. But even then, I still left wounded. I wish I would have tapered, should have tapered, but might not have ever come off had I not cold-turkeyed. A huge factor in my anger and rage are feelings of inadequacy, and the withdrawal just made me feel like a complete and total loser and it weakened the mental fortitude I spent years cultivating.

    Among other things I do believe it:

    A) reduced my ability to cope with stress, B) permanently turned up the knob on my panic and anxiety, C) gave me PTSD, and D) taught me what true insomnia is versus just having trouble sleeping, and my body has not forgotten that fear and thus the lingering memory of it causes worry, which precipitates random bouts of insomnia to this day.

    All the things I hate about myself, withdrawal made worse. Upon honest introspection, I have been angry all of my life, I was even known for it (what a great thing for people to think of you: "the angry guy"), hell I even saw a picture of me recently in the 6th grade, fists clenched, face grimaced, ready to fight someone, sad. Those days were not atypical, even at younger ages than that. When I run into someone from back in the day they are always shocked that I have calmed down, at least externally, and did not end up in prison. That was the path I was on from a very early age, and would have probably saw through, if it weren't for the changes, and personal growth I went through in college as well as expanding my scope of influences in my life with new friends and role models and better goals. I consider myself lucky but even today wonder when the rake will pull all the chips to the house, at the core are those dark thoughts and feelings that precipitate almost all bad things that happen to me.

    When I am in these pits of despair and the anger and rage are simmering and thoughts are flashing in my brain, I always end up back with anger toward my parents for being asleep at the wheel during a period where I was the victim of ritualized sexual abuse by a neighbor female, a true dark arts artist that only recently killed herself after dealing with lifelong chronic back pain and opiate abuse, the irony. I was saddened when I heard this as it pre-empted my own vengeance but was likely for the best. I confronted the woman's mother a month before she died and I think it set off the whole thing as I was really trying to move passed it mentally. It is hard to see that woman as a victim of sexual abuse like myself, but I believe she was and was only doing what she had learned to be normal, but I cannot grant her, even in death, any respite from my hatred, she knew it was wrong. She told me if I ever told anyone what she did she would curse me and haunt me all of my life. To this day, I even tell my parents I am cursed when my esteem and self-worth dip low because that is precisely how I think and feel about the miseries and pains of my life.

    My anger is also associated with low self-worth and inadequacy, two of the things that will trigger me from anger to rage. I've lost track of the drywall repairs I've done and its embarrassing. I am thankful that I am aware enough of my emotions to shield my family from them without trying to repress them and to be honest sometimes crashing my hand through a wall makes me feel better, like a good cry does, like some kind of drug. I want to think I am better than still holding onto this hate towards my parents for what happened, but I just don't think I am even though I tell myself I am. Probably more likely to forgive the abuser than my parents. Even when I told them what happened, they minimized it and had no idea, to this day, the extent of the damage that was caused.

    I think I will journal about these feelings toward the abuser and my parents. Not that it will solve the immediate gastritis/ulcer issue, but it's a way forward. I have to stop hating myself for everything. I have to stop seeing myself as cursed.
  6. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat Peer Supporter

    @marcsloane I can't add anything to @Andy Bayliss 's excellent guidance. I feel particularly that given all of the emotional trauma that you've suffered a TMS therapist would be a good place to start. There are lots of unhelpful therapists out there and it sounds like you've got one now, but I believe there is someone who could be a helpful guide on your journey.

    Beyond that, I want to say: I hear you, I feel anger about what has happened to you and compassion for you and awe at your strength in surviving it. You are so articulate and insightful. You have the strength and desire to heal. I wish you some relief soon.
  7. marcsloane

    marcsloane Newcomer

    Just had the scope done - they literally found nothing wrong with me. No ulcers, no gastritis. More and more it's looking like TMS. I'm debating whether it is even necessary to subject myself to anymore tests or if this was it and I should just call it a day and accept that what I have is emotional. I am honestly in a bit of a shock as I was certain there would be some kind of pathology. I will await results of biopsies for H Pylori - but more and more it is looking like TMS 100%, not even TMS aggravating an existing condition, but just purely an emotional cause.

    It is just amazing what stress and rage and can do the human body.

    I should feel relief, though I already feel perhaps the symptom imperative is working through my OCD and health anxiety. It's definitely looking for something to latch on to, that's for sure!
  8. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    [QUOTE="marcsloane, post: 115547, I have to stop hating myself for everything. I have to stop seeing myself as cursed.[/QUOTE]
    That is putting an awful lot of pressure on yourself, could you rephrase it... "I can stop putting pressure on myself" and "I can stop seing myself as cursed"?

    (I have the same problems with pressurising myself)
  9. Jerpou

    Jerpou New Member

    That is putting an awful lot of pressure on yourself, could you rephrase it... "I can stop putting pressure on myself" and "I can stop seing myself as cursed"?

    (I have the same problems with pressurising myself)[/QUOTE]
    Hello I would suggest going to the free podcast Mindbody mastery podcast
    There are 70 different subject ,I'm sure you will find great things
    It's normally on YouTube but better on Apple podcasts, YouTube doesn't show all episodes ,only 20 or so
  10. Avnita Suri

    Avnita Suri Peer Supporter

    Hi @marcsloane , the problem is that deeper work is needed. You need to go back into what your exact symptoms are saying. You might have a perfect life, but the issues are subconscious. Where do you think in your past does it stem from? Have you worked through your issues and more to the point, have you worked through your issues that are specific to your symptoms? That's key. We can do lots of therapy, but unless we work through what our exact and precise symptoms are saying it's not the effective.
  11. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    Your comment about putting a stop to seeing yourself as cursed is really insightful. In that regard, you might want to consider Dr. Hanscom's recent advice in the Mindbody Blog subforum of this tmswiki.org website. Here is the link:


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